Read All About It! Our Latest Issue of A Connected Conversation Has Just Been Released!


IoT solutions could be used to enable heavy equipment operators and OEMs to perform predictive analytics and maintenance as well as a number of other financially gainful functions. Adoption of these solutions, however, has been slow. 

In this latest issue of A Connected Conversation, we focused on IoT solutions, the benefits they offer to heavy machinery operators and OEMs as well as the challenges to their adoption.

To view this issue of A Connected Conversation, simply click here.

For more information, please contact us at

The 2018 IoT Health Report: IoT World Gives IoT Its Yearly Check-up

By: James Brehm, Mike Krell, & Carl Ford


Every spring the IoT industry convenes in Santa Clara for IoT World. As one of the larger (if not the largest) IoT specific show, IoT World is a great opportunity to network with the “movers and shakers” in the IoT space, and it also gives us an opportunity for a checkup…so how is our health?

The answer is we are either still in our infancy or we are a technology trend and not a market.

After careful deliberation, here are 7 key thoughts about where we are after spending 3 full days of meetings and taking in the IoT scene at the show.

1. It’s all about the ecosystem. We’ve been saying this for a long time, and it still holds true. No company can implement an IoT solution in a vacuum—our research at James Brehm & Associates (JBA) bears this out. We see generally about 8 different systems/companies involved in major IoT deployments. Face it, there are just a lot of pieces to the puzzle: sensors, processors, gateways, and servers on the hardware side on top of lightweight OS, edge-based solutions, and cloud on the software side. Given all these pieces, it’s not surprising that for each of these there is a systems integrator or IoT managed service provider ready to assist in assembling the puzzle. Whether we like it or not, this isn’t going to change. What can and should change, however, is the number of potential solutions in each category. This leads us to our next key thought…

2. Cloudy partnerships don’t deliver IoT. We looked around for actual customers and realized there was a problem. Being in Silicon Valley makes for strong attendance. Startups and cloud companies mingle easily and achieve a lot of partnerships on paper. Producing products in partnership, on the other hand, is not being achieved. To elaborate on the problem: in the US there are about 6 million businesses. At the top are 6,000 companies with more that 2,500 employees. These are the companies that can power through using IoT. To IoT World’s credit, they highlighted some of these eenterprises. However, the next two market segments are not necessarily getting offerings that match their needs. For the 1.5 million companies that are between 10 to 2,500 employees (and most of them are closer to 10), integrators with reference designs that deliver 80% of the solution are in high demand. Very few of these offerings are coming out of the CA-based IoT solutions company, myDevices. Sprint’s IoT Factory, on the other hand, is one of the better picks and uses reference designs. The integrator ecosystem has yet to meet the challenge of this segment. The largest market, the small business market of less than 10 employees, is in even worse shape. This is a market that wants to buy IoT off the shelf. They want to buy from Amazon and not Amazon Web Services (AWS).

3. What was missing? Sprint’s IoT Factory & Off the Shelf Solutions. Actually producing finished, IoT products is essential to scaling IoT and broadening the reach of IoT World. By offering off-the-shelf solutions with straightforward, readily understood pricing models and by streamlining processes and cutting down on unnecessary meetings about requirements and costs of customization, Sprint’s IoT Factory (powered by the IoT solutions company, myDevices) is a great example of what the marketplace needs right now. A simple, concise “Here are the solutions, and here is when we can send someone out to install them. Interested?,” carries volumes more punch than hours of will-we-won’t-we conversations. Who does IoT Factory send? This is one of the best aspects of their partnership with myDevices. The installers are small independent integrators identified by myDevices  that have been researched on Yelp. If you know what you’re doing with IoT and have a review on Yelp, then there’s a good chance that you have probably already been contacted by the Factory (or soon will be) and have been invited to train to support the Factory. Kevin Bromber the CEO of myDevices says it well: “As an industry, we’re just scratching the surface of how powerful IoT solutions can be when combined with the massive scale, world-class connectivity and advanced technology…”

4. There are still too many platforms. It’s confusing (and holding back) the industry. We at JBA have a +700-long list of solutions that call themselves “platforms.” A key issue has been (and remains) settling on the definition of a platform. What is a platform? How about device management? Application enablement? When language isn’t standardized, misunderstandings ensue and we end up with a jumble of solutions—many of which claim to fulfill the same role but simply do not provide the same functionality. How’s an organization to pick a solution? There’s everything from majors like Amazon, Microsoft, and SAP to industrial players like PTC and Siemens to smaller players like Clearblade and everything else in between. Do enterprises go with a more generic solution (which requires more programming/setup) or a more industry-specific or focused solution? We’ve got our thoughts on the winners/losers of this battle, but one thing is for sure: with this many players, the field must shake out. And hopefully it’ll happen rapidly to quickly weed out those that don’t have real innovative and scalable technology from those that do.

5. It’s a lot about the edge. One of our constant battles at JBA is trying to define what the edge is, and what the overall IoT industry is. The industry still doesn’t have  comprehensive and standardly accepted definitions of these terms. What we do know is that the IoT edge is getting smarter and that it is having a strong effect on  hardware and software architectures. Driven by video and voice, processor companies like Qualcomm and ARM are focusing on delivering low-cost compute architectures that can provide the ability to process data and provide analytics where the sensors and actuators are located, such as on video cameras on an industrial controller. These applications, driven by increased use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, are pushing not only hardware architecture, but software architecture, as well. Azure Edge, Clearblade, SAP, and Leonardo Edge are just a few of the IoT platforms that are rapidly trying to deal with this change. The critical elements for long haul success will be how and where enterprises process and then integrate data from IoT applications into their business systems to get the most value out of their data.

6. Use cases, use cases, repeat after me, use cases. We talk a lot about applications, target markets, and verticals when discussing IoT, but in reality, it’s all about use cases. The world of IoT is so diverse that you have to get really specific when talking about what problems you are trying to solve or what markets you are trying to affect. Transportation is not a homogeneous target segment. The needs of an autonomous vehicle are very different needs from those of fleet management or of pallet tracking. Vendors that are focused on just one of these verticals are missing the mark when it comes to positioning their solutions for organizations to actually use them and actually generate revenues. Remember: enterprises are trying to solve real world problems, find new revenue streams, optimize real processes, and meet compliance requirements. Questions like “How can I reduce the number of times my production line goes down?” or “how can I meet the new industry regulations for fleet tracking?” are very specific problems. One of the key trends I see is application enablement platforms producing “80/20” solutions that are 80% complete for specific applications such as asset management or fleet tracking. Huawei and SAP come to mind. With pre-packaged applications mostly done, the only work left is to connect them to the specific systems they need to interact with. This is the right strategy at the right time to jump-start the IoT market.

7. The prospects for IoT monetization are high, and the money continues to flow (for some). There is no doubt that the IoT ecosystem will generate significant revenues over time. IoT Fever may be running high but it will eventually come down from its pitch back to earth. I had a senior executive at a major enterprise player once tell me, “We know the market is huge, so we’ve stopped trying to chase the numbers to justify all out actions.” Microsoft just announced a $5 billion investment in IoT, on top of what they have already spent. There is a huge ecosystem of players being funded by VC’s and private equity firms making continuous moves, and they both are still very active in the space. We all know it’s going to be huge. The problem is this is a long game, and it takes time to move and develop. IoT networks, both cellular such as NB-IoT and LTE-M and Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWANs) such as LoRa, don’t yet provide ubiquitous coverage. Software and hardware aren’t mature yet. And enterprises are still looking for the ROI. There will continue to be shakeout, and we will need to reduce the number of options for every segment of IoT.

In summary, the promise of IoT has not been reduced, and the industry will continue to grow, but people have to understand that the industry is still nascent. It’s in it’s infancy. We have a long way to go, but that’s not a deterrent. All the pieces in the ecosystem will fall into place to provide the real value of connecting devices and gathering and analyzing data from a seemingly never-ending supply of use cases…

Conversations near a Conference

By: Carl Ford


IoT World is going on this week in Santa Clara. We started the week with meetings in San Jose and Santa Clara and have 20+ meetings and speaking on two topics. It’s a very good show. Kudos to Gavin Whitechurch and his team.

My first two days have been spent in the Santa Clara Hyatt adjacent to the convention center in meetings with clients and other industry heavyweights.

Two conversations in particular struck me as worthy of writing about. One for its insight and depth of collaborative discussion. The other for its content regarding poor messaging.

Let me set the stage first. Almost everyone who is here believes we have not even begun to tap the market opportunity of IoT. Whether you want to dive into a vertical or look at the entire spectrum of solutions, the market is rich with problems needing a solution. Many companies have unmet requirements, broken business models, unmet needs, and missed opportunities. The organizations we speak with have untapped market opportunities.

This is where the insight came in with a discussion from a friend at a Tier 1 MNO. He was sharing his experience with business leaders that often have a problem that IoT can solve, but don’t have a full perspective or responsibility. He says often he comes across problems that people want addressed but are not in charge of. For example, a company has a problem with theft and wants to track their goods. An IoT track and trace solution would fit nicely into this mix. This problem of the theft is drawn to the attention of security. It starts as a physical security discussion, but they don’t have access to all the shipment data and they would have to deploy people since they have limited IT resources or skills. Security brings this to the attention of IT. IT listens but candidly does not monitor the shipments—only the transactions—so they don’t look for a solution.

Now comes the insight. If you are stuck in these circular discussions, the problem is not an IoT problem yet. The people you are talking to don’t have a span of control that matches to an IoT solution. This means you either have to go up a level or find the right organization that cares about these issues.

And here is the inverse of this discussion: Meeting with a platform company that is looking to differentiate themselves from the plethora of platforms out in the market. This company has focused on supporting hardware companies with almost-out-of-the-box, ready-made reference solutions. In reality, many (if not most) of the platforms available have these libraries today. Additionally, many have offered MVNO services.

The hardware companies may need to see a reference design, but the Pareto Principal (aka the “80/20 Rule”) would indicate that a reference design—while being 80% of the code—only takes you to 20% of the value.

The additional 20% of development needs to meet the requirements of the business case. These requirements include, but are not limited to, the integration to specific environmental issues and the management dashboard and training. These additional requirements extend far beyond a lump of code.

This is a job for a systems integrator.

And here the insight from our Tier 1 friend shows comes up again.

Everywhere I turn, I hear about digital transformation and digital twins. You would think that systems integrators would be the ones pushing the conversation and value of IoT. Yet connecting the dots and showing the benefits of IoT has not been understood, on their end.

It’s clear we are a fledgling business. It’s also clear that we need to improve our messaging to climb the hockey stick.

Mind the Gap with Carnegie Technologies

By: Carl Ford


“Heterogeneous” is the word for the process of melding communications systems using wireline, Wi-Fi, and cellular technologies. I asked to interview Carnegie Technologies when they acquired SmartSwitch, as the company is one of the leaders in the heterogeneous networking space. I spoke with John Goocher, Managing Director, Matt Hovis, Chief Marketing Officer, and Ben Toner, Director of Mobility Product Management, about the acquisition and history of Carnegie Technologies.

Paul Posner, who has been a pioneer of wireless services, founded Carnegie Technologies after realizing that the vendor community had portfolio gaps in areas necessary for seamless communications. The goal was to manage disparate networks like Wi-Fi and cellular services. Along the way the feature set expanded and began to include features such as replication of packets, link aggregation (what I used to call “bonding”), dual “keep a lives,” and traffic analytics. Combined, this became Carnegie’s Network Convergence Platform (NCP) solution which aims to optimize the user experience through making and aggregating the best network connections available.

The acquisition of Smartswitch enhances the ability to provide “a consistent user experience across all devices while in the home, at work, on the move and while out and about. The innovation required to deliver such a tailored experience, in all real-world Wi-Fi conditions, has repeatedly demonstrated the value service providers can extract from their Wi-Fi assets today.”

Carnegie has developed a link aggregation capability which it says is designed to provide a smooth integration of Wi-Fi into cellular services. Although it has similarities to the much talked about Multipath TCP (MPTCP), it provides extra capabilities for supporting UDP data streams from voice apps and for delivering gapless handover. It also removes some of the technical issues faced by MPTCP, such as Head of the Line Blocking. “The combined capability of SmartSwitch and the patented link aggregation capabilities of the NCP goes directly for the maximum user experience, offering premium aggregation of data links while ensuring the best Wi-Fi has been selected in order to maximize the potential for Wi-Fi usage, which in turn eliminates congestion and cost on the cellular networks.”

Paul Posner, CEO of Carnegie Technologies, commented “many smart devices on the market today have the capability to access more than one network at a time, and we’re committed to ensuring that the users of these devices can benefit from all networks with the optimal user experience.”

Their NCP solution boasts a number of features that are pragmatic and ready for today’s network environment. For example, a Wi-Fi analytics capability continuously measures QoS and provides insights to the service providers when their customers are both on and off their network. In addition, NCP offers policy management and the ability to adapt the network selection to be just right for the customer (e.g. unlimited plan customers may use 4G if Wi-Fi is slow, whereas pre-pay customers may use more Wi-Fi regardless of quality in order to keep costs down). Their solution supports SIM authentication and HotSpot 2.0, so it is ready for all of the future Wi-Fi infrastructure.

Another aspect of the NCP with SmartSwitch is the ability to interface with the mobile core via 3GPP Access Network Discovery Selection Function (ANDSF), which in turn means their connection and aggregation policies are tuned to the Policy and Charging Rules Function (PCRF) rules and subscriber tiers. For MVNOs who do not have a mobile core, they support automatic authentication of portals using EAP methods as well as WISPr.

Carnegie Technologies is also a player in IoT where it’s also expected to offer huge benefits owing to devices’ need for continuous and reliable connections to work to their fullest potential. Regardless of a carrier’s primary strategy, I think solutions such as Carnegie Technologies’ offering are going to become more essential.

Would You Like to Speak at Sensors Expo?

By: James Brehm

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We’re Headed to Sensors Expo, and Here’s Why!

In 2009, I was quoted in a press release stating “we're entering a new era where every device that can be connected will be connected to the Internet and other devices.” It was a very different time then. The buzz word ”IoT” didn’t exist. There were more M2M MVNOs than platform companies. And every company wasn’t yet looking to change its business model through digitalization.

But as the market edged ever forward, and the world of connected devices matured, first movers created vertical solutions to address very specific issues. And in developing tools to improve their capabilities to accelerate the launch of a wide range of connected-devices and services, these vertical solution providers pivoted and expanded the horizontal capabilities of their applications and renamed them “platforms”. Somehow, with no proof, everyone in the software game seemed to be reading from the same script, thinking that a platform would provide a quicker time to market, enhanced customer experience, growth in subscriber and revenue levels, and an increased average revenue per user (ARPU).

But as we learned at last year’s iteration of Sensors Expo, most of the Sensor companies don’t speak IoT and IoT gateway companies and connectivity providers don’t speak Sensor.

But all of the companies, regardless of type, inappropriately interchange buzzwords like platforms, analytics, Big Data, sensors, and blockchain in their marketing messages, while not realizing they are just pieces of the puzzle.

A week or two ago, I was speaking with a vendor and the topic of buzzwords – which buzzword would be next. And what we came up with is the fact that while the end game is contextualized information, the starting point is the sensor-application. Cheap, plentiful sensors are being widely integrated in the planet’s mobile and fixed infrastructures, each new sensor tied to an application which in time will generate a torrent of time-series data that will overwhelm all prior data volumes. 

And this is where things like analytics, Big Data, and blockchain reside. It’s where platforms will help drive scale and where scale will drive economics.

Connectivity is like plumbing. And while we've begun to realize that connecting these devices is an incredibly complex process, we’ve pretty much figured out connectivity. But what the world hasn’t figured out yet, is while connecting a device is necessary, it’s connecting sensors and having sensor driven applications that is mandatory to drive value.

So we’re headed to Sensors Expo to lead 2 days of panels and presentations, bringing both sides of the equation (the sensor and the IoT) together.

Would you like to join the discussion? Do you have something interesting to say? Would you like to be put on the agenda?

Please email us back. Let’s hold a discussion and see where you might fit.



MODEX 2018 will be held on April 9-12 this year at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA. With more than 800 exhibitors from industry, commerce, and government attending to display their supply chain solutions and innovation, this year’s show will provide attendees access to the latest manufacturing and supply chain equipment and technologies. James Brehm, founder and CEO of James Brehm & Associates, will be moderating the panel discussion “Industry 4.0 & IoT.”

"Industry 4.0” is the name that has been given to the revolution that the manufacturing industry is currently experiencing. Together, Industry 4.0 and IoT are enabling leaner, more efficient manufacturing. More importantly, however, they are enabling the creation of novel products and processes that are in turn disrupting a variety of different industries.

Both Industry 4.0 and IoT are unprecedented yet possible today because the different technologies they draw from (e.g. automation, cloud computing, etc.) have finally hit the sweet spot where they are sophisticated enough and affordable enough to yield viable, pragmatic solutions. And both are whipping up a storm of ethical and organizational questions.

Think about it. 

Since the technologies involved in Industry 4.0 and IoT will only become more sophisticated and relevant with time, and since data’s role and value as a commodity will only appreciate with time, manufacturers and supply chain operators are now faced with the challenge of figuring out the best approach to taking advantage of these new technologies:

  • Should the new technologies and processes introduced by Industry 4.0 and IoT be used to wholly replace legacy systems or should updates be done piecemeal? What pains would each approach bring, and how should businesses choose?
  • Who (and to what extent) gets to own access the data from connected products sold to other businesses?
  • How are Industry 4.0 and IoT affecting business models? What’s more important—the connected thing or the connected business model?

These questions and many others will be explored at the panel discussion “Industry 4.0 and IoT” by the highly-qualified panelists John Ashodian (Marketing Manager at SICK), Vijay Chhabria (R&D Manager at JBT), and Doug Schuchart (Market Manager of Material Handling & Logistics at Beckhoff Automation), whose vision and ingenuity have distinguished them in each of their respective companies.

The discussion will be held on April 10, 2018 from 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm at the Smart City Logistics and Connected Supply Chain Theater 1.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with James Brehm & Associates or receive more information about the panel discussion “Industry 4.0 and IoT” please contact us at

Extra! Extra! Read Our Q4 Report!


In our latest issue of A Deeper Connected Conversation we provide an in-depth analysis of Q4 results and a review of market activity (e.g., new network deployments, partnerships &/or alliances, new product &/or service announcements). 

It is our goal to equip readers with the knowledge and insight they need to make wise decisions regarding your IoT and IoT-related ventures and projects. That drives us to uncover and report the most accurate and telling financials, key performance indicators (KPIs), and news. 

To view this report, simply click HERE

For more information, please contact us at

Hot Off the Press! Why Autonomous Vehicles Are An Eventual Certainty But Auto Dealers Still Don't Know How To Sell Connected Car Solutions Sales


This latest Connected Conversation, focuses on two aspects of the auto industry (autonomous vehicles and auto sales) to provide insight on the following issues: 

  • The Business & Legal Factors Holding Driverless Cars Back--Technological immaturity isn't the only factor slowing the en masse entry of driverless cars on our roadways. Engineers can (and soon absolutely will) advance the technology for driverless cars into maturity. But that's only half of the equation. Complexities rooted in insurance, regulatory, and cultural issues are just a few of the challenges that need to be addressed.
  • Which Driving Segments Will Driverless Cars Lure the Most--Driverless cars aren't going to suddenly monopolize our roads. The most realistic scenario will be that driverless vehicles begin replacing long-haul vehicles used for transporting goods. (Not consumer "Average-Joe" drivers.)  Simple supply/demand economics, well, demand it. 
    • Auto Dealers Are Myopically Sabotaging Sales of Connected Car Solutions--We have enormous respect for the men and women who daily work very hard at auto dealerships; our opinion of the business model currently in place at your average auto dealership is another matter. The brass tacks is that sales numbers for connected car solutions continue to be problematic because sales people aren't being properly incentivized to promote them.

    To view this issue of A Connected Conversation, simply click here.

    For more information, please contact us at

    Read About the ATM EFFECT


    Titled "The ATM Effect," this latest Connected Conversation, focuses exclusively on ATMs to provide: 

    • Analysis of the Global ATM Market--How robust is the global market? Which regions display the most growth and why? What are the revenue opportunities?
    • Analysis of the US ATM Market--What are customer trends and how do they affect ATM usage? How are ATMs evolving and how does that affect traditional banking models? What's the growth forecast?
    • Explanation of EMV Fraud Liability Shift--What is EMV, and do we really need it? Just how high are credit card fraud losses in the US? How will a fraud liability shift affect those losses? How will it affect small businesses? 

    It is our goal at James Brehm & Associates to equip you, the readers, with the knowledge and insight you need to make profitable decisions regarding your IoT and IoT-related ventures and projects. This goals drives us to create the most effective market analysis out there. 

    To view this issue of A Connected Conversation, simply click here

    Whether it be content range or depth (or something else entirely), if you have any feedback on how we could better serve your needs or if you would like to subscribe, please don't hesitate to let us know by dropping us a line at

    Net Neutrality & IoT


    By: James Brehm

    We've received countless emails and phone calls the past couple of days asking for our opinion on Net Neutrality and Chairman Pai's reversal of previous policy.

    Well, just wait, I've got a special edition of our newsletter devoted to Net Neutrality coming. And if you want a preview--all you whining and sniveling SISSIES who are complaining about the reversal order--remember this: without the Network, there is no Net Neutrality discussion.